GREENFIELD, Mass., May 2, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A group of Franklin County community leaders delivered a petition on Monday, May 1 to Baystate Franklin Medical Center President Cindy Russo, calling on her to agree to a fair contract for nurses that enables them to provide the best possible care for their patients and ensures the well-being of the entire community.
The petition was signed by nearly 900 people, who have expressed support for BFMC nurses at numerous events throughout Franklin County, including during an informational picket on April 27 outside the hospital that was attended by 350 nurses, family, friends, advocates and union allies. The petition was hand delivered to Russo inside the main entrance of the hospital on Monday.
"Baystate Franklin nurses are dedicated to the health and well-being of our patients and the community," said Donna Stern, RN and Senior Co-Chair of the BFMC RN Bargaining Committee. "The public trusts nurses because we care for them, and I believe that is why we have such tremendous support among people who live and work in Franklin County. As we advocate for our patients and colleagues, we are proud to have such strong community leaders behind us."
Petition deliverers included: Rudy Renaud, Greenfield Town Councilor and SEIU 888 Organizing Director; Maryelen Calderwood, field representative with the Massachusetts Teachers Association; Patrick Burke, president of the Hampshire/Franklin Labor Council; Eric Bauer, organizer with Jobs with Justice; David Cohen, board member of Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution; Judy Atkins, FCCPR; Susan Worgaftik, CHCI; Mike Florio, executive director of the Western Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health; Diane Jensen-Olszewski, MTA Political Action District Coordinator
The petition says:
As community members, we support Baystate Franklin Medical Center nurses and their just proposals for:
Resources that they and all of the hospital's excellent caregivers need to provide safe patient care, which includes adequate staffing in the ER, the nursing floors and in the psychiatric unit.
A safe environment in the hospital for staff and patients.
Fair and competitive wages, and decent health insurance and retirement benefits to attract and retain caregivers and to reward them for their service to the community.
BFMC nurses' issues are our issues. We trust and support the expressed needs of the RNs and other health care workers as a bellwether of what the hospital requires to meet the needs of the community.
Background on Bargaining
BFMC nurses have been bargaining with Baystate since November 2016. In recent weeks, nurses voted 93 percent to authorize a one-day strike and filed seven unfair labor practice charges against Baystate with the National Labor Relations Board. The strike authorization vote gives the BFMC RN Bargaining Committee the authority to call for a one-day strike if and when it is necessary. No date has been scheduled.
Bargaining is over a new contract to replace the agreement that was scheduled to expire Dec. 31, 2016. There have been 16 sessions held to date. A federal mediator joined the bargaining process in February. The next bargaining session is scheduled for Thursday, May 4.
Key outstanding issues include safe patient limits for nurses targeted to BFMC patient needs, security improvements and reversing Baystate's recent erosion of nurses' health insurance benefits and working conditions.
For more details, including the NLRB charges and hospital schedules, mandatory overtime reports and text messages showing a pattern of BFMC not having enough nurses for its patients, please contact Joe Markman at 781-571-8175 or [email protected].
Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.